Transcript: Sen. Thom Tillis on "Face the Nation," September 16, 2018

The following is a transcript of the interview with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina, that aired Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, on "Face the Nation."  


JOHN DICKERSON: For more about the impact of Florence in North Carolina we turn to Republican Senator Thom Tillis. He's at the Red Cross shelter in Charlotte. Good morning Senator.

SENATOR THOM TILLIS: Good morning.

JOHN DICKERSON: Senator how's your state holding up in the wake of this storm?

SEN. TILLIS: Well we're doing as well as we can. This is a weather event that I believe will exceed the damage that Matthew did just two years ago. So while we were still recovering from that event we've got the same areas engulfed and rivers that are going to overflow their banks over the next few days and I think some of the worst part of this storm will actually hasn't even occurred yet it will as we see the rivers flow back to the coast.

JOHN DICKERSON: When you say it hasn't occurred yet what do you expect?

SEN. TILLIS: Well what- with the rain levels and some of the cresting estimates for the Cape Fear River. A number of the other rivers and tributaries that had ultimately to our sounds are out to the ocean. We're talking about crest amounts that exceed what we saw with Hurricane Matthew. And we're just now -- I'm in Charlotte -- we're just now beginning to see the rain bands more consistently dump water in this region and supposed to move up through the mountain. So the river basins are going to take a matter of days before we'll see the full effects of the storm and we're already seeing a number of roads cut off interstates likely to be closed over the next 24 to 48 hours. That creates a number of challenges for the local communities and for disaster relief.

JOHN DICKERSON: Are you getting the federal help you need?

SEN. TILLIS: We are. I think that the FEMA assets were positioned as well as they could be before we knew where the storm was going to make landfall. The Red Cross is doing an extraordinary job. We have four evacuation centers here in the Charlotte area that have people from as far as Wilmington, Jacksonville and Columbia, South Carolina. Here it's at capacity. We have three others that continue to have capacity we'd expect to see some of those fill up as the storm progresses through this part of the region

JOHN DICKERSON: During Hurricane Harvey there were troubles with emergency services --  people having difficulty getting through -- is that OK in this case?

SEN. TILLIS: At this point in our section of the state yes there are certainly areas in the eastern part of the state where Florence made landfall where flooding, downed power lines, downed trees are creating challenges. But the reports that we're getting is we're working through them. Duke Power's on- on the scene they're trying to do everything they can to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands. And and I don't believe we've seen the end of that. We've seen several thousand homes in my own county here in Mecklenburg County in Charlotte that are out of power. That's going to continue. That will likely be weeks before it's all fully restored.

JOHN DICKERSON: Senator when you get back to Washington you got a vote on Tuesday and the Judiciary Committee which you sit on. There's been some information about sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh the president's nominee. Have you looked at the letter that is now a part of his file? It's a it's. Have you looked at that.

SEN. TILLIS: I haven't seen the letter. As a matter of fact, I believe that the member that first received the letter was as late as July. And quite honestly I'm shocked that the matter didn't come up in the nearly 32 hours of testimony that Judge Kavanaugh was before as in the open session or the nearly hour hour and a half session that we had in a closed session. That information never came up. So when we get back to Washington this week we'll take a look at it but it really raises a question in my mind about, if this was material to the confirmation process, why on Earth, over the past four to six weeks, hasn't it been discussed among the committee members?

JOHN DICKERSON: That's right and we should make it quite clear this is something he's denied categorically. This is something that allegedly happened much more than 30 years ago. But now that it is in the mix, is your is your feeling that this is a ploy of some kind or that this is while it is so long ago sufficient sufficiently important to look at look seriously and put into your calculation and others as they make their vote.

SEN. TILLIS: Well I've I've spent most of my time focused on Hurricane Florence, but the questions that we will ask and seek answers to next week are, "why sit on it for weeks?" We understand that the person who wrote the letter is not willing to come forward. So we have a confidential witness not willing to sit down at least in a closed setting that's problematic to me. And as you said Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations and I put some weight on that.

JOHN DICKERSON: Very quickly Senator you think he'll be confirmed by the Senate?

SEN. TILLIS: Oh I do-

JOHN DICKERSON: -Alright-

SEN. TILLIS: -I think that we'll move forward to report about the committee and confirm him before October.

JOHN DICKERSON: Senator Tillis, thanks so much for being with us. We'll be back in a minute with a look at the situation in South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham will join us.